In this episode of Mormon Stories we interview Savannah and her mother, Heather.  Savannah recently generated international media attention when she came out as gay to her Mormon ward (congregation) in Eagle Mountain, Utah during fast and testimony meeting (May 7, 2017).  Towards the end of her testimony, a presiding priesthood authority cut off her microphone and told her to sit down.  A friend recorded the video of her live testimony, which is also shared below.

In this episode John interviews both Savannah and Heather in order to provide the context for Savannah’s testimony that day.  Questions answered in this episode include:

  • What was Savannah’s relationship with the Mormon church prior to her testimony?
  • Why did Savannah want to come out as gay to her ward?  Why did she write out her testimony beforehand?
  • Why did Savannah’s parents “allow” her to bear her testimony in this way?
  • Who recorded Savannah’s testimony, and why?
  • How did Savannah and her mother feel when the microphone was cut off, and Savannah was asked to sit down by her Mormon priesthood leader?
  • Was this event a conspiracy orchestrated by Savannah’s parents?
  • What has been the reaction to these events?
  • What do Savannah and Heather hope to accomplish by talking about this publicly?
  • What would Savannah and Heather like to say to LGBT Mormons and their family/friends?

Special thanks to Heather and Savannah for visiting with the Mormon Stories crew and sharing her beautiful story!

The original video of Savannah’s testimony can be found here:


  1. Fernando June 20, 2017 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Well, she was just making an election. Free will is a sacred right. That’s what I see here, and of course, I see a lot of intransigence on the Church leaders. There are several special instructions to handle these cases. I guess this brother never read them.

  2. Patty June 20, 2017 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Savannah, you go, girl. God surely has a work for you. I would not be surprised if he hasn’t prepared a lovely, intelligent companion to share your vision of happiness with in the future. You seem to have an amazing mom.

    Twenty years ago my own brother chose to find another path when it became clear that his local LDS church leadership perceived him as a biological misfit. How our family loves my brother and his companion.

    When Elder Nelson asserted that the policy change towards the children of gay couples was a revelation, something smelled really rotten. God never changes his word and his word is that children are as close to the celestials as we’ll ever get in this life. In the New Testament the Lord cautions us in the strongest possible terms against harming or abusing children. I think Elder Nelson made it up. I’m sure he’s a good person but I wonder how he can claim with a straight face to be a prophet, seer and revelator.

  3. mormoncensorship June 21, 2017 at 6:59 am - Reply

    Important things first-Happy Birthday Savannah! Thanks for the interview. It was great to hear Savannah and her mother put the story of her testimony in perspective.

  4. Rod Woodward June 21, 2017 at 8:41 am - Reply

    Happy birthday, Savannah! I really enjoyed your interview and sense that you have a bright future ahead of you. Thanks for your courage. It gave me hope for the lesbian relatives in my family.

  5. Granny D June 21, 2017 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Thank you Savannah. You are a true pioneer, and if you look behind you, a lot of us are pushing our handcarts, with banners saying things like: LOVE IS FOR EVERYONE; TIME FOR THE WEAK TO CARRY THE STRONG; TRUTH SPOKEN HERE; LOVE ONE ANOTHER; LISTEN TO YOUR CHILD; DIVERSITY MAKES US WHOLE.

    Anybody else want to add/suggest a banner?

    Happy Birthday Savannah!

  6. Jay June 21, 2017 at 2:51 pm - Reply

    This is not a complex situation. Savannah gives us the simple answers so beautifully. Want to know how to treat LBGTQ – or anyone? – listen to this interview.

    What’s wild is that Savannah is the teacher – and children often can be if only adults will listen.

    Thank you!

    • Tonto June 22, 2017 at 3:20 pm - Reply


      In addition, Savannah needs to be on the Disney Channel as she is not only very intelligent, but also very entertaining.

      I was also very impressed with John’s ability to interview. He is masterful at creating an interesting story with context and challenging questions. I would have been like, “Hi Savannah…..Tell me what happened when that guy turned off your microphone…..

  7. Kathleen Nelson June 21, 2017 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    You go strong girl! Sending lots of love your way.

  8. Jason June 21, 2017 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Brought a few tears to my eyes. Thanks John and Heather and Savannah for sharing such a powerful story. We ALL need to be more intelligent and understanding and accepting when it comes to our lgbt brothers and sisters. Mormon Stories is so incredibly awesome. Keep up the fantastic work John.

  9. Kirsten June 21, 2017 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    You are awesome, Savannah! Your testimony was one of the best I’ve ever heard (except that you could not finish it in your ward). Continue to be who you are and know that Heavenly Father loves you.

  10. Duck June 21, 2017 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    As I watched the video on you tube of Savannah bearing her testimony and the member of the stake presidency just tell her to sit down, I just felt how absolutely and utterly wrong that was. You can’t just tell a 12 year old to sit down, not in front of everyone like that, not because she was telling her Ward who she is and what she hopes for and wants in her life.

    If she had been talking about wanting to grow up and marry a man, have a family and children with him, no member of any stake presidency would have interrupted her and told her to go sit down. The whole thing made me pretty furious and I was glad for the strength Savannah has.

    And, for what it’s worth: ban divorce NOT legal marriage.

    • Me June 24, 2017 at 11:50 am - Reply

      Wait…. banning divorce could be just as bad or even worse than banning same-sex marriage. Many many people marry too young and into abusive marriages (more than 6 or 8% of the population). Banning divorce could also mean promoting life sentences of servitude. Every situation is different.

      Divorce is a right that needs to be protected just like same-sex marriage needs to be protected. Be careful about protecting one group while discriminating against another. Mormons in bad and dangerous marriages suffer greatly due to social pressures perpetuated by ideas like yours.

      • Duck June 25, 2017 at 7:03 pm - Reply

        boo hoo, mesays. Go find someone else to fight with.

        I KNOW there are reasons to get divorced. Duh.

        • D. Michael Martindale August 23, 2019 at 3:58 pm - Reply

          Now I know why Duck is called Duck. When you try to have a civil conversation with him, you’d better duck!

  11. Tracey June 22, 2017 at 10:57 am - Reply

    I had to sit and listen to a woman bear her testimony about how she followed the spirit when she prayed to be led to the right person so she could know what stud she should allow to breed with her mare. No joke! When I hear mindless testimonies every single fast Sunday over the pulpit, this makes me sad that they asked her to sit down for this when she bore her testimony from the heart about herself, love and Christ.

  12. Guest June 22, 2017 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    If she were telling people to vote for Trump, drink beer at 12, or saying anything else that goes against the purpose of these sacred meetings, I’m guessing the priesthood leaders would have asked her to sit down much earlier. The pulpit isn’t the place to teach personal doctrine. That is more for Sunday School….. : ).

  13. beth June 23, 2017 at 4:38 am - Reply

    Happy 13th Birthday savannah, you are a beautiful person, keep shining through with your loving smile, god bless you sweetheartx

  14. MormonX June 23, 2017 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    This young lady is wise beyond her years. It’s good to see all the support she is receiving from her parents, fellow members, and from people in social media. Savannah, you are one brave young lady and will be a good role model to everyone, not just to those in your situation.

    Not really weird for a member of the stake presidency to “reside” in sacrament meeting. In our stake, they like to show who’s boss and sitting up in the front makes that impression. So it’s funny that this member of the stake presidency, who was in his home ward, would rather show of his authority then sit with his family.

  15. Tim Birt June 24, 2017 at 8:43 am - Reply

    Thank you Savannah for your courage and willingness to speak.

    I encourage active LDS to wear red ties to show their support for you and your message to the Church and society. Imagine when this catches on and local and General church leaders have to consider their choice in tie color and remember your words when they choose! Soon I hope the tipping point your courage has brought about where more people have already heard your testimony than have watched General Conference in 2017, will bring about the whole Mormon Tabernacle Choir wearing red ties in support of your testimony.

  16. Deborah June 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm - Reply

    As an ex Mormon and supporter of the LGBT community, I was very interested in Savannah’s story. Thank you to Mormon Stories for giving Savannah and her mother the opportunity to share with us their journey. Savannah, I can’t tell you how impressed and moved I am by your message. You’re a remarkable person who has already contributed to our society in a positive way. I hope you will continue to grow and flourish within an atmosphere of love and acceptance.

  17. Madeleine June 25, 2017 at 11:03 pm - Reply

    Dear Savannah,

    You and I have some shared history. I was raised in the Church, and when I was 16 I also came out to my ward. I reminded them of a prior testimony I gave when I said all love comes from God, and said “I told you that because I am in fact a lesbian.” They looked surprised and dismayed but I wanted them to know that God’s love doesn’t disappear when you’re honest about who you love.

    I had some hard times, but these experiences taught me to speak the truth even when it’s inconvenient and scary. My mind was opened and I got find my own values and stick by them. It helped me to get to know lots of people who were different from me and just listen to their stories. I saw God in people with all kinds of different spiritual paths, and I saw there were lots of different ways to be happy. Now I’m starting a PhD program in chemistry, hoping someday my research will make someone’s life better.

    I believe that God is in all things, far too great to be contained in one book or one church. Your relationship with your Heavenly Parents is your own – nobody else gets to set the terms of that for you. Thanks for reminding me how to be courageous and true to myself. I think you’re making the world around you better.

  18. suzy deyoung June 30, 2017 at 9:02 am - Reply

    Was compelled to write a blog about this. (link below) Here’s to Savannah.

  19. Emily Thompson July 2, 2017 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Happy birthday, Savannah! It’s so important to know who you are, so that you can make the choices that are right for you in this life. Thank you for your courage.

  20. David Speth July 9, 2017 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Are we going to have courage for mammon? Or are we going to have courage for God?

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.